|  Blog Post   |  A sad story with an even happier ending.

A sad story with an even happier ending.

Grab a cuppa. It’s story time. A story with a warning. It’s a sad story. And we know it will have a very happy ending…

One of the hardest parts of faith is knowing the goodness of God even when He shuts the door on something huge. Something that He even brought into your life, and knowing that if you’re willing to trust Him in letting it go, in giving it back, there is something even better on the other side.

Chad and I have decided to sell the twelve-acre property in Black Jack where we had planned to build Monarch Meadows Retreat.

After consulting with multiple attorneys, it seems getting zoned and building the dream we want isn’t possible there. Like not even worth fighting for. It would not be smart or responsible business to keep going at that location.

So we let it go and keep looking.

It feels really unfair.

Except my God is fair.

It feels like I’ve been tricked, forsaken even.

Except my God never forsakes.

I feel foolish.

Except faith, when all in, often does feel foolish and yet is anything but.

What we want to do in this dream doesn’t feel like it exists or like it’s even possible. God’s only response to that has been that, of course, it’s possible with Him. We just haven’t found it yet; it isn’t ready.

I am so thankful to my friends who have helped me process this truly heartbreaking news and, most of all, confirmed back to me the goodness of God and His promises.

This property is our Isaac. We are laying it down, giving it back to God, and trusting He will provide.

And even though we don’t know what He has next for us, we trust with everything in us that it is even better.

Which is hard to imagine right now.

To have felt it, touched it, seen it, planned it out, and shared it with all of you who have been so supportive and excited for us, only to have it not be possible is honestly excruciating.

Except we’ve done this before.

It isn’t the same, and it feels so similar to when we decided to stop IVF treatments and work to heal into a happy and healthy childless not by choice life.

We laid that down with gutted broken hearts and God has delivered tenfold beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined….grief and joy in every moment.

Because here’s the thing: even when it feels unfair or like we’ve been forsaken, it just isn’t true.

Feelings aren’t fact. Feelings can lie. I know the heart of God and how much He loves me. I’ve seen His face more in these last dark four years of my life than ever before. I know Him better and trust Him more than ever in my life.

I feel crushed and I trust Him.

We have gotten most of the Black Jack house boxed up and have the Salvation Army truck scheduled for pick up in mid-March, at which point we will get it on the market.

As I stood by the sparkling lake watching the geese on it, feeling the depths of my grief, sadness, confusion, frustration, alongside my trust, surrender, and expectant hope, I felt with every part of me that there is some family that is going to love this land so much and create a lifetime of memories on it, they just weren’t ready for it back in October, we had to steward it for them first (and plant some wildflowers and milkweed, of course).

Standing on the shoreline, I knew it was already no longer ours.

Laying it down with anguish and open hands, ready to receive what is better.

And so, we will take all the prayers for an easy and not financially difficult sale, continued trust that God is up to something amazing because He always is, that we will obey, and that Monarch Meadows Retreat and where she is supposed to be just hasn’t been available yet.

The wildest part about it all?

I am doing the 30-day Prayer of Jabez challenge after reading The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson. If you didn’t know God or this life with faith well, you would think that this loss is the opposite of that prayer. Except it’s not, it’s just the beginning of blessings beyond.

Oh God, bless us indeed and expand our territory, please be with us in all we do, protect us from evil, and keep us from trouble and pain. Amen. 1 Chronicles 4:10


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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